Saturday, April 23, 2016

Sex Positivity, Feminism and Health Implications- By: Deirdre O'Donnell

I attended a lecture held at the RIC dining hall. The speaker was Deirdre O'Donnell, a 2013 RIC graduate. She received her degree in Women's Studies. She is continuing school at BU currently for her masters degree. She has experience working with suicide prevention, sexual health, and the pleasure institution.

The main issues that Deirdre addressed included...
 Feminism: social, political, economical, and equal aspects of sexes
Social Justice
Libertarianism vs. Interventionalist Politics
Health Policy & Law- the ACA- Affordable Care Act
Sex Positivity

Public Health Research

Deirdre brought up facts and statistics about the United States that I never heard before, actually she brought up many things I had never heard before that I found pretty interesting. I learned many new things from O'Donnell but I also was able to make connections to many of the authors we have discussed in FNED.

One of the authors that O'Donnell's ideas reflected was Grinner and her term SCWAAMP. SCWAAMP is a model that represents all of of the ideal norms and values in society. For example, some favored norms in our society are straightness- and maleness, which O'Donnell addressed. After the connection I made with Grinner I realized the similarities that August has to the topic. O'Donnell's ideas relate to August because she introduced the term LGBT and emphasized the significance of understanding the term. She also discussed the issue that are present in society because people do not understand the term LGBT. Lastly, Lisa Delpit can be compared to Deirdre O'Donnell's discussion. O'Donnell brought up women's rights and the issue of society's perception of  women's roles. Her arguments were spot on, they were extremely relevant to Delpit's "rules and codes of power". In society males are seen as having the most power. O'Donnell pointed out that too often in society women are being disrespected.

Comments/ Points to Share: I really enjoyed this lecture it addressed topics that I find really important especially as a woman. These topics are sometimes uncomfortable to talk about but Deirdre made it fun and interesting. She had a great sense of humor I would definitely recommend her lecture!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Education is Politics- By: Ira Shor

Ira Shor efficently explains the significance of socialization in education. He supports his ideas with the rich experiences that children will encounter as a result socialization in their education. Too many times education consist of an, as Shor describes it a, "one way street" of teacher-student talk. Socialization in education involves, teacher and student dialogue. As an effective teacher it is important to acknowledge the difference between talking and dialogue. Through dialogue students and teachers have the opportunity to exchange thought and ask questions, and overall receive a more valuable education. Bettleheim also points out that by asking the students questions, proves to them that you trust them and believe that they are intelligent. This idea reminded me specifically of Finn and Oakes' ideas on education. Bettleheim's thoughts also made me think of Lisa Delpit.  As Lisa Delpit describes, there is a "culture of power" and those who are not already a participant, must learn the rules and expectations of the culture of power specifically in the educational setting. Yes, I agree it is necessary to teach these rules and codes of society in school. However, I believe that it is equally as important for students to question, "Why?" "Why do we have these expectations?" "Where did they come from?" as Bettleheim believed in Shor's article. Children would benefit greatly from being taught the importance of school and why education is valued. As a future teacher, I am always looking for suggestions on what to include in my classroom and useful tools and techniques to incorporate. This article from Middle Web outlines the characteristics observed in both non-effective classrooms and most effective classrooms. The characteristics of the most effective classrooms reflect the beliefs of Shor and Bettleheim. 

Functions of School Socialization, Cultural Innovation, Integration & Latent Functions 
I felt like this video was relevant to Shor's article because it introduces the term Hidden Curriculum . The term
hidden curriculum relates to the importance of socialization in education because instead of ignoring the hidden curriculum, we must acknowledge it, and inform our students of it in order to encourage students curiosity and questioning as Shor explains. 

Comments/ Points to Share?:
If socialization were more incorporated into lower class schools, would more learning take place? Would more students graduate and continue to attend college?

Monday, April 11, 2016

Citizenship in School: Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome By: Christopher Kliewer


I found this article to be the most interesting one that I have read this semester. Special education is something that I have considered getting my degree in. I hadn't considered that before this semester maybe because I wasn't yet familiar with it and what it really was. After this semester, with my service learning experience being in an inclusion classroom and SPED 300 I have really taken an interest in it. I have learned the importance of placing my attention on what the individual with a disability CAN do rather than focus on their disabilities. 

This week I chose to do my blog based on connections to other text we have read. While reading Kliewer's article I thought of so many of the other topics we have discussed from other texts. I found it especially interesting because at first the title kind of threw me off...Citizenship and Down Syndrome, what the heck do they have in common? But once I started reading and got into it I thought about August, TAL,  and SCWAAMP.

August- In "Safe Spaces" August discusses the issue of acknowledging the LBGT community. She emphasized the importance of including and accepting differing sexualities and making the classroom a safe place for students who are not secure with their sexual identities rather than alienating them. This relates to Kliewer when Shayne Robbins explains, " Its not like they come here to be labeled, or to believe the label." Just like or LGBT community, our disabled community just wants to be included without being looked at and treated differently. 

TAL- "All Lives Matter" discussed the need for the integration of races in schools. The story highlights the need to give all lives despite their race equal values, specifically when it comes to education. The value of of whites is significantly greater then that of blacks. The whites get the more qualified teachers and nicer schools while the blacks get the poor schools with the less qualified teachers. The article also pointed out that having integrated schools with black and white students results in many more learning opportunities not only for black students but for white as well. Kliewer's article reminded me of "All Lives Matter" because the author argues the need for integration of disabled and non- disabled peers in schools. If all of our students with disabilities are segregated, they are being deprived of such rich learning experiences. Not only would our children with disabilities have rich learning experiences but so would our non- disabled students. 

SCWAAMP- Leslie Grinner argues that there are certain categories in society that are valued in society over others. One of categories she identifies as highly valued by society is able-bodiedness. This connects to Kliewer because he addresses the fact that society presents a negative attitude towards individuals with disabilities, and in a way look down on them. 

Connections/ Comments to Share: I think that it is important to acknowledge the progress that society has made when it comes to the inclusion of children with disabilities in the regular education classroom, but there is definitely more improvements to be made. It is so important for young children especially to learn how to interact with their disabled peers and get to know them. It will better prepare them for later encounters in community and society in the future. 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Literacy with an Attitude- Educating Working- Class Children In Their Own Self Interest - By: Patrick J. Finn (1999)

Extended Comments: This week I chose to use Katherine's blog to do extended comments on. Katherine's blog really caught my attention because we had a similar reaction while reading Finn's article. Delpit was the first thing that came to my mind after reading Finn's quote, "When I discussed discipline problems with other teachers, a frequent topic of discussion in the teacher's lounge. I would talk about my teaching methods as methods of control. I had work assignments on the board when the students entered the classroom, and so there wasn't a moment when they didn't have anything to do. I didn't say to an errant student, "What are you doing?" I said, "Stop that and get to work." No discussion. No openings for an argument." (Finn, 3-4) I also agree with Katherine, this quote is a perfect example of Delpit's 4th aspect of power "If you are not already a participant in the culture of power, being told explicitly the rules of that culture makes acquiring power easier."  I think Finn did a great job explaining the importance of the way you phrase statements or questions to your students. As a teacher you need to be educated on the most effective strategies for using discipline with your students. As a future teacher, both Delpit and Finn have taught me the importance of being aware of the cultures in your classroom. Too often educators neglect to recognize the cultural differences that are present in their classrooms. As both authors explained, discipline is demonstrated in many ways when students go home. Students who are already part of the culture of power are familiar with the rules and codes and know how to succeed. When it comes to those who are stuck outside the culture of power they are at a huge disadvantage. Unfairly, teachers tend to write those students off assuming that they don't want to learn, when many times thats not the case at all. Those students are just not knowledgeable of what what is expected. That is why I really admire the strategies Finn uses with his students. The fact that he always has an assignment on the board conditions his students to know what is expected of them. He demonstrated his power in the classroom in a general way that all the students understand. Finn also uses an effective technique with his students when they are off task. Instead of asking a question, he makes sure to use a statement so their is no opportunity for argument or confusion. This can also be related to Delpit's aspect of power, "Issues of power are enacted in the classroom"(Delpit, 25) The title, Educating Working- Class Children In Their Own Self Interest is the most fitting name for what every future educator and educator needs to become educated on. It is extremely crucial for educators to educate their students in their own self interest in order to provide their students with the opportunity to learn as much as they can...but more importantly to prepare them to succeed and achieve. 

Questions/ Comments/Points to share: 
"When rich children get empowering education nothing changes. But when working-class children get empowering education you get literacy with an attitude." (Finn, preface) I think that this quote of Finn's is extremely significant because it can be related to  Delpit's 5th aspect of power, "Those with power are frequently least aware of-or least willing to acknowledge its existence. Those without power are often most aware of its existence." ( Delpit, 24)  Similarly, it can be related to TAL, the importance of school integration, and Mah-Ria's story. The parents and students at Francis Howell were already participants in the culture of power. They do not have the same appreciation for the education provided at Francis Howell as the students from Normandy do. 

P.S. I found this really cute video. I think it is relevant to the idea of empowering education. The little boy in the video makes a great point, "You wanna change the world, you gotta know about it!"  

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Problem We All Live With- This American Life & Separate and Unequal- Bob Herbert

Each of these readings discuss a specific topic that our country continues to tip toe around, the need for integration. The readings all question, why not integration? As the articles explain, research does prove integration to be highly beneficial. So why have we not put integration into action? 


"So we're not talking about the Normandy School District losing their accreditation because of their buildings, or their structures, or their teachers. We are talking about violent behavior that is coming in with my first grader, my third grader, and my middle schooler that I'm very worried about. And I want to know-- you have no choice, like me-- I want to know where the metal detectors are going to be. And I want to know where your drug-sniffing dogs are going to be."
Part 1 of "The Problem We All Live With", told a story about Nedra Martin and her daughter Mah-Ria Martin. While Mah-Ria was in the process of transferring to Francis Howell a primarily white school, it was heart breaking to hear all of the negative opinions from the Francis Howell parents. The parents were so eager to assume that their children would be in danger. They worried that welcoming the Normandy students would disrupt their children's learning. The quote above really upset me because the issue of the schools un-accreditation was not a result of violent behaviors. This parent clearly holds a  negative stereotype about the students of the Normandy school district. That stereotype is encouraged because of the high percentage of latino and black students, and the fact that the school lost their accreditation. The parents of the white students showed barely any open mindedness about integration. Which is exactly the problem, integration needs to be given a chance. Little do those parents know, integration is also beneficial to their children. 

One teacher testified, "I think that children can overcome the stigma of poverty. I think children can overcome the stigma of their ethnicity. But what they cannot overcome is the stigma of separation. That is like a damned spot in their being, in their self image. And that's what segregation does to children. They see themselves as apart and separate because of the language they speak, because of the color of their skin, the origin of their parents."
Part 2 of "The Problem We All Live With", told a story about a different approach to integration. A less hesitant one and a more aggressive approach towards it. John Brittain, a civil rights lawyer was in favor of integration. He knew exactly he needed to do to be as successful as possible in his attempt to make it happen. He got the entire board of education to not only support him but actually testify. Now that's saying something. The board of education knows what is best for their students. They are the ones who are most aware of the negative impact that segregation has on their children. 

"Breaking up these toxic concentrations of poverty would seem to be a logical and worthy goal. Long years of evidence show that poor kids of all ethnic backgrounds do better academically when they go to school with their more affluent — that is, middle class — peers. "
Bob Herbert's article in the New York Times also discussed the need for integration, and the fact that the need is being ignored and pushed aside. His quote relates very closely to part 1 of TAL that we read. Part 1 also brought up the point that these schools made up of latino and black students, are also primarily living in poverty. Research as shown that clumping these students together is harmful. They do not have the opportunity to learn from peers and are not likely to be encouraged by their teachers and peers. Those students are more likely to benefit in a motivational environment where they will have the opportunity to learn from their peers and achieve. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

In The Service Of What? The Politics of Service Learning By: Joseph Kahne and Joel Westheimer

Extended Comments: 
I found Kahne and Westheimer’s article extremely engaging. After reading some of my peers post, I found that I share many of the same ideas as them when it comes to the topic of service learning. In particular I was drawn to Ariana's post and my post will be extended comments on her post.  In the article, both Mr. Johnson and Ms. Adams students took part in service learning experiences. However, each teacher took a bit of a different approach I think that both had positive outcomes. Ariana began her blog post stating that the beginning of the article gives a great description of what we should be getting out of our own service learning experiences. As the article explains,
"Improve the community and invigorate the classroom, providing rich educational experiences for students at all levels of schooling...[we] aim to respond to the needs of the community while furthering the academic goals of students."

This quote couldn’t be more accurate, we are improving the community by spending time at these inner city schools. We are making an effort to enhance the knowledge and lives of students who come from very little. We are also building meaningful relationships with students who could really use an older role model in their lives. Just by taking a few hours a week to spend time at these schools is benefitting children social- emotionally, and academically. Personally, I feel like my experiences have also benefited me social- emotionally and academically. After my visits, I feel so happy because I know I helped make someone’s day better. I also feel fortunate that I have the opportunity to work in the classroom and learn things first hand that will be especially useful to me in my future as an early childhood educator. Another quote from the article that Ariana used that I thought was important to touch upon was that,
"Unfortunately, in many service activities, students view those they serve as clients rather than as a resource". I think that this quote relates to Ariana’s high school experience. Ariana explained that many of her classmates complained about having to complete 30 hours of community service. I think it’s important to acknowledge that students think of the term, “community service” as a chore. Often they are not made knowledgeable of all of the highly valuable skills and experiences that can be taken from service learning.

Comments/Points to Share:

I was never required to complete service learning hours before attending college. Unlike Ariana and many of my other classmates, I was not introduced to it in high school. In a way I feel as though if I had been introduced to it sooner, it would have really benefited and prepared me for the real world and college. I think that service learning serves a huge role in the development of maturity. From my service learning experiences I have become more familiar with how to respond to many different situations in the classroom, especially in regards to culture. I think it is crucial to discuss some ways of positively promoting service learning in order to reduce many of the common misconceptions that students have about service learning.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Safe Spaces: Making Schools and Communities Welcoming to LGBT Youth -By: Annemarie Vaccaro, Gerri August, and Meghan S. Kennedy

Reflection/ Connection: 
I really enjoyed reading "Safe Spaces", because it discussed a topic that I feel especially strong about. The article discussed the importance of introducing and welcoming LGBT society to youth. The chapter also acknowledges the consequences of not welcoming the topic of LGBT into youth classrooms. Youth classrooms should be considered a "safe space", students have the right to an education and they should be able to receive that education comfortably.
I get especially defensive when the subject of LGBT society comes up because I have an older brother who is gay. He came out as gay when he was a freshmen in high school, which to me is incredibly brave and admirable. I remember him being teased as a kid for wanting to play with barbies and play dress up with me. In middle school, kids used to come up to me and say things like, "Why does your brother talk like a girl?" and it really irritated me. After reading this article it clearly demonstrates why welcoming LGBT into youth classrooms is important.  Obviously my brother felt different, out of place,isolated because nobody ever spoke of being gay, therefore all his classmates had to judge him because to them he was "different". Fortunately, I have wonderful, loving, accepting parents who fully support my brother no matter what. However, I think that the students reactions may have been different if LGBT had been introduced in our classrooms. 
This article is a great representation of Grinner's "SCWAAMP". Straightness is the highly valued sexuality in society. Therefore, it causes any other sexuality to be seen as taboo. This idea could also be applied to Delpit's "Culture of Power". Straightness holds all of the power in society, straightness is what is assumed as normalcy. But really, who has the right to decide that? There are so many brilliant, successful LGBT people out there who deserve the same amount of respect as those who are straight. For example, take a look at these 50 Famous Gay People.
Comments/Points to Share: There was one quote from the article that really stood out to me. One of the students stated, "In my opinion, children at any age shouldn't be educated about that (because) I see it as a perversion and not a natural way of loving someone" (pg.93). This is really upset me. In my opinion, no it actually is a quite natural way of loving someone. People do not make the decision to be gay, bi, or transgender. It blows my mind that people actually believe someone would put themselves in a situation that caused them to feel isolated from society. It is biological. Every one deserves to love and to be loved. If you look up the term, love in the dictionary the definition does not specify that it is a requirement to love only the opposite sex. :)

Saturday, February 20, 2016

"Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us"- Linda Christensen

Christensen shares one of her own personal experiences as a teacher. She describes an assignment that she gave her students. The outcome of the assignment was the idea that societies favorite movies and t.v. shows have a "secret education" hidden behind them.

The study that Linda Christensen's students took part in proved the hidden stereotypes woven into our favorite childhood movies and cartoons. The "secret education" as Christensen refers to it is especially fitting.The part of her article I want to focus on is the concept of self image. 

 I do agree that in some ways our favorite cartoons and movies have manipulated us with many unrealistic expectations of what is desired by society. My favorite example is, the female lead roles always having the hour glass body shape, clear skin,  just flawless. Followed by the handsome prince falling in love with them. Oh if only it were that simple...

However, I think that Disney has made an effort to include other cultures and nationalities into their movies. For example, Mulan, Pocahontas, Aladdin. I know that plenty of people could find countless negative things to point out about those movies but I think its a start. It's important to acknowledge that we have come a long way. Christensen's student, Kenya (African American) shared her feelings towards Disney movies. Her negative attitude about the lack of African American lead roles was extremely justified during the time this study was done (pg.131). I babysit ALOT and on  Disney Jr. they now play a show called "The Princess and the Frog" starring an African American princess, Tiana. It really excited me to finally see that.

Comments/ Points to Share: I think it is great that a variety of races and cultures are being included in Disney movies, but I think a major issue with negative body image still exist as a result of the media and needs to be acknowledged. Young girls especially are highly vulnerable to the messages that the most popular movies and t.v. shows are sending out. Personally, I have to admit that it is something that has affected me. Seriously, where did these ridiculous standards for women come from? 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

"Aria" By: Richard Rodriguez 
I thought this picture perfectly exemplified the meaning of this article.  Society values English and has made it the clear that it is the "public" language. In Richards case the shapes trying to fit into the circular hole, represent he and his family. The circular hole represents his teachers and society. They neglect to understand how much of an impact depriving them of their culture has on them individually and as a family. tumblr_inline_n37j2kXper1qfb043.jpg 
Reflection/ Connections: 

I really appreciated Rodriguez sharing his personal experiences in this article. I felt like I was able to connect to his feelings and experiences to a certain extent. Luckily, being American and having English as my first language, I have never encountered a situation like the one Richard and his family did. However, I connected to the author on a more sympathetic level. It made me think of my family and I. I love to go home to my family because I share such a close, unique bond with them outside of society. I believe that is what makes us a family. In Rodriguez's article he discusses how tight knit he and his family were. A huge part of that was contributed by their culture and the language that they shared, their "private language". Something about sharing a separate language than the rest of society made the author and his family connect more intimately. Richards unfortunate experience made me think back to Lisa Delpit, and her idea of the "Culture of Power". Not once did Richards teachers demonstrate that they were interested in him as a unique individual, or welcome his culture into the classroom. As a future educator that part of the article really infuriated me. Why is it okay to deprive someone of their own culture? Inside AND outside the classroom? Or really anywhere for that matter. 

Questions/ Points to share: Why is it necessary that only Richard learn English? Why can't the teachers and  students make an effort to learn a little Spanish as well? I think this would be a great idea, it would bring the class closer together. People deserve the right to their own culture!!!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack- Peggy McIntosh

I thought this political cartoon was especially relevant to McIntosh's article.  It is a perfect example of what  the author meant by "Daily effects of white privilege".  enhanced-buzz-27562-1389051959-22.jpg
1. "My schooling gave me no training in seeing myself as an oppressor, as an unfairly advantaged person, or as a participant in a damaged culture."I found this quote of McIntosh quite significant. It is so true. We are not taught in school that whether or not we are aware of it, whites are seen as oppressors. McIntosh gave a great explanation of why that is. There are so many advantages that whites take for granted. Many of the advantages that Peggy McIntosh lists, I would have never thought of on my own. However, I found each of her advantages extremely accurate. McIntosh's quote also reminded me of Delpit's article and the idea of "The Culture of Power".
2. "If these things are true, this is not such a free country; one's life is not what one makes it; many doors open for certain people through no virtues of their own." -McIntosh meant that if all of these advantaged that come along with being white are true, then in reality it is only a free country for people of white privilege. No matter what, America has become a white country. There is always more doors open for white people. What people have to offer is much more valued if they obtain the "Culture of Power". 
3. "I was taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group" -This quote reminds me of the first quote I have listed. Once again, we have been conditioned to view racism as an action, not as something that we come with, attached to us. It is more than that, it is something that is not always seen with our eyes.  

Comments/ Points to share:

After reading this article, it leaves me with an unsettling feeling. The author asks at the end of the article, "I imagine, for some others like me if we raise our daily consciousness on the perquisites of being light-skinned. What will we do with such knowledge?" I wonder the same thing. If we become more concious  of the assets that follow being light skinned, will we actually use it to better society? Or will we continue to walk around "pretending" that the advantage does not exist? Is it actually possible for this issue to be resolved?

Sunday, January 31, 2016

"U.S.A., Land of Limitations?" By: Nicholas Kristof


America, the "land of opportunity" "lack of opportunity" would be more fitting. 
I really enjoyed Kristof's article, "U.S.A., Land of Limitations?". The authors argument is basically the idea that where we end up, as far as society and class, is a reflection of our up bringing. 

In other words, we are a product of our environment. It is unlikely that someone who was raised in poverty will make it to middle class in the future. Yes, it could happen but Kristof emphasizes that it is rare. Today, living in America is heavily reliant on opportunity. I agree with Kristof's argument, it is completely unfair. I loved his quote, "Some think success is all about "choices" and "personal responsibility."  He continued, "Yes those are real, but it's so much more complicated than that." (pg.4) Society today is so quick to judge, and make assumptions based on each others status. I think as a society we are neglecting to look deeper into the issue. The amount of money an individual has should not define their level of success. The man Rick Goff that Kristof describes is a perfect example. 

Another point I found significant while reading was when Kristof quoted Professor Reardon. He stated, "Rich kids make a lot of bad choices, they just don't come with the same sort of consequences." (pg. 4) I think this quote is extremely meaningful. For example, a rich kid getting caught stealing can easily afford a good lawyer to help get him out of trouble. A poor kid without a lawyer is likely to receive a harsher punishment. Kristof made a valid point, we were once referred to as the "land of opportunity" its now 2016 and that reference has definitely become irrelevant. Its the truth, the presidential candidates should be debating this issue. 

Questions/ Points to Share: 
I can't help but relate Kristof's article to education. The issue of the lack of opportunity reflects students, primarily those who are living in poverty. If a student is raised in poverty and their parents had a bad experience in school due to their lack of opportunity, they are likely to have negative views of school and are  likely to have a discouraging attitudes towards school. As a result their child will pick up the same attitude about school. Educators need to be made more aware of this problem. Starting here in Rhode Island would be a great start. 
This is a picture from the summer of my siblings and I with our mom!  
I have a huge family! This is a picture of my Dad, Stepmom, and all my siblings. I have 3 siblings and 3 step siblings. 

This is my absolutely adorable cousin mason and I <3 
This is Seamus my super lazy dog!

Mason is 4 now, My mom and I started taking care of him when he was 6 months old. He lives with us part time. He has become a huge part of my life :)
This is my boyfriend and I at the Taylor Swift concert this summer, it was amazing!!
Over winter break I went up to my friends house in Maine. We snow-shoed on a golf course behind the house! I love this picture because it actually looks like we are on mountain! It was so beautiful!

Not great quality but another pic I snapped at the Tay Swift concert! Im a tad obsessed with her...

I have not always loved to run but this summer I got into it. I ran a 5 miler and ended up winning first place in my age group! This is my cousin and I after the race.

This is a pic from a 5k I ran this fall, I also won for my age group! Running has become a hobby of mine:)
My favorite place in the world is probably the beach laying in the sun. My family goes to Cape Cod for a week every summer. My best friend from school lives in Cape Cod so she came to visit me!